How Sports Are Using Plastic Crates
03 Apr 2017
Plastic crates – they’re hygienic to use, they’re light, they’re stackable and they’re reusable. Many of them are recyclable. They are a familiar sight in warehouses and logistics companies around the world. Now, however, you can find them in a new setting – the world of sport.
A New Kind of Challenge
In March 2017 the University of Wisconsin hosted a new kind of sporting event at the Recreational Eagle Centre’s climbing wall. The event was Crate Stacking, and it’s one that most people, even experienced climbers, have not heard of.
The basic idea behind the Crate Stacking event is a simple one. Contestants must build a tower of stackable crates beneath them as they climb up the wall. It may seem easy to start with, but soon they must have the crates thrown up to them or raised on a rope. The event requires a high degree of balance, athletic skill and thought – even experienced climbers found it a challenge!
How Did It Get Started?
This event is a development of the previous Crate Stacking challenge, where contestants had to stack crates without the use of a climbing wall. In this earlier version of the sport, competitors had to build a stack of crates whilst standing on the actual stack itself. Strategic placing of each plastic crate was vital, as was the ability to balance.
How Does It Work?
The event staged at the University of Wisconsin was simple yet physically challenging. Competitors had to build a tower of crates using the climbing wall. As the tower of crates got higher, it became necessary for crates to be thrown up to form the next level of the tower or to be passed up to the contestant using a rope. The higher the tower became, the more unstable it was. This made it harder for the climber to balance while stacking the crate and standing on it before climbing up to complete the next level. Many of the contestants were visibly shaking as their towers grew.
Plastic crates are light, durable and stackable, which makes them extremely safe for this kind of competition, but even so it became harder and harder for the climbers to manage their crates as they reached higher. The contestants had to keep their balance while placing and stacking the crate, and then had to catch the next crate as it was thrown to them. If they failed, then the tower would collapse with plastic crates flying everywhere – to the delight of the audience and other participants!
This is the second such event that the University of Wisconsin has hosted. The idea came from a graduate assistant who brought the idea from a gym in Oshkosh. Even experienced climbers found it a challenge, but many were eager to try nevertheless. The final record for the number of crates stacked before falling stands at 18, and this year the highest number of crates stacked before falling was 14. The event was popular with a range of competitors willing to give it a go – hopefully, next year someone will break that record.